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Last Known “Pink Triangle” Holocaust Survivor Dies

Jim Burroway

August 4th, 2011

Rudolf Brazda, who is believed to be the last surviving gay Holocaust survivor, has died at the age of 98. The Berlin branch of the Lesbian and Gay Association said that he died on Wednesday. He died peacefully in his sleep in a nursing home, where he resided since last June.

Born in 1913, Brazda grew up in Meuselwitz near the Czech border, where he frequently ran into trouble with local authorities over his homosexuality. Meuselwitz later became the site for a subcamp for the Buchenwald concentration camp. Brazda spent three years from 1942 through 1945 at Buchenwald, after having been convicted of homosexuality by the Nazis as a “repeat offender.” After the war, he moved to the Alsace region of eastern France. Last year, he co-authored Itinerary of a Pink Triangle about his internment, forced labor, beatings, and harassment. The book is not yet available in English.

During the Nazi regime, an estimated 54,000 men were arrested by the Nazis under Paragraph 175, the criminal code which outlawed male homosexuality. Upwards of 15,000 of them were sent to concentration camps, where it is estimated that approximately 60% died. The end of the war meant liberation for the much larger interned populations of Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Russians, and other undesirables, but allied forces often returned gay men to post-war prisons to continue to serve out their terms. Homosexuality wasn’t formally decriminalized in Germany until 1994.

Brazda’s funeral will be held on Monday. In accordance with his will, Brazda’s remains will be cremated and his ashes placed alongside those of Edward Meyer, his life partner of more than 50 years who died in 2003.

Earlier this year, Brazda was awarded France’s Legion of Honor. An interview with Brazda was posted on YouTube last October.

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August 4th, 2011 | LINK

You misspelled “triangle” in your heading.

Jim Burroway
August 4th, 2011 | LINK


August 4th, 2011 | LINK

May I suggest all readers of BTB pause at noon local time on Monday for 60 seconds, 54 seconds in memory of all the Pink Triangle men, 6 seconds for Ghana, Uganda, Iran, and any others under threat of their life today. It is good for us to remember and important for us not to forget.

August 4th, 2011 | LINK

“Repeat offender” — why does term sound familiar, I wonder?

August 4th, 2011 | LINK

Paragraph 175,the German criminal law against male sodomy, was originally adopted at the founding of the German Empire in 1871 from prior Prussian law. Male sodomy was not illegal in most of the other German states, and lesbian sex was never illiegal in modern Germany. Coverage of Paragraph 175 was expanded and penalties were increased in the Nazi era. In West Germany, it was the only criminal law of the Nazi era that was not abolished or returned to pre-Nazi form shortly after World War II. Sex acts between consenting adult men became legal in communist East Germany in 1968, and in capitalist West Germany in 1969, when in both countries Paragraph 175 was reduced to covering male pedophilia. Paragraph 175 was finally completely abolished in 1994 after reunification of Germany.

August 4th, 2011 | LINK

Both of my grandfathers were World War II veterans, it’s sad that we’re reaching the last words on that page of history. We cannot forget those who lived through that time or the things they went through, nor allow the rest of the world to forget the lessons those people taught us.

To do any less gives American wannabe Christian Dominionist fascists, Ugandan Anti-gay psychos, Murderous Right-wing killers, and all those sorts all the more room to do what they do.

I feel that I’ve seen in the last few years a resurgence of all the very things my grandparents…who lived through the Depression, World War II, the bad parts of the Cold War, Vietnam & the 60’s generally…taught me were wrong.

It wasn’t that they started out being against things like income inequality, misuse of religion, polarizing politics and war, life experience taught them that these were bad things, and I have to wonder sometimes if those who claim to be conservatives these days and seem to want to undo the whole of the 20th century ever listened to their grandparents.

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